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Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response Office (SeMPRO)

How to get help: Call 1800 SeMPRO (1800 736 776) 24/7 | Immediate danger? Call 000 (AUS) | Exit Site

Responding to Sexual Misconduct

24/7 Help

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1800 736 776
outside AUS 612 6127 1759

SMS Text - 0429 600 800
outside AUS 61 429 600 800

The first person most people speak to about being sexually assaulted is a trusted family member, friend or community worker/counsellor.

If someone tells you they have been sexually assaulted, it is important to listen to them and let them express how they feel. It is also important not to tell them what to do or ask why they went there, why they let them in, etc – ‘why’ questions are blame questions.

How should I respond?

There are three crucial things a person who has been sexually assaulted needs to hear:

Appropriate responses
What you should say Which is heard as
  • I am sorry for what has happened.
  • What happened to you is wrong.
  • I will do what I can to help.
  • I believe you.
  • You are not to blame.
  • You are not alone.

What support is available?

If you are told of a sexual assault, you should recommend that the person rings SeMPRO on 1800 SeMPRO (1800 736 776) to discuss the issue with a professional and gain access to appropriate support services. This support will help them to recover from their trauma.

It is, however, also important to ensure that you are not adversely affected as a result of having heard their disclosure; this is referred to as ‘vicarious trauma’. SeMPRO staff can provide you with tools to assist you to guard against vicarious trauma, or put you in contact with appropriate support services in your area.

Do I need to report the incident?

If you are a commander or manager of the person making the disclosure, you may have additional responsibilities that require you to report the incident to ADFIS or the State/Territory police and SeMPRO. This may be difficult, as you may feel you are betraying the person’s trust. You can call SeMPRO on 1800 SeMPRO (1800 736 776) for advice on handling this issue.